HRCP calls for ensuring supremacy of parliament

Commission expresses concern over country’s dire economic situation

Our Correspondent May 01, 2023


The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed concern that the increasing political polarization within the country has weakened parliamentary supremacy.

On the conclusion of its biannual Governing Council meeting, the commission expressed serious concern over the country’s dire economic situation; purported increase in child labour and exploitative practices; and reports of suicides allegedly triggered by poverty.

The HRCP reiterated the need for urgent land reforms to reduce economic inequality.

It took notice of the “alarming” growth of high-income housing societies, given the consequent depletion of agricultural land and associated risk of rising food insecurity.

The HRCP expressed its concern over the ongoing census and called for addressing the allegations of undercounting, keeping in view the implications for the delimitation of electoral constituencies.

It added that local governments needed to be made much more effective in all the provinces to protect people’s rights.

The commission also demanded greater judicial accountability and transparency in the appointment of judges.

It noted that unseasonal rains and the growing prospect of floods in Sindh and Balochistan were cause for alarm.

The HRCP called for the rehabilitation of the people – displaced by the earlier floods – in areas that were not vulnerable to further natural disasters.

The commission was also alarmed by the deteriorating law and order in northern Sindh and southern Punjab, including the increase in robberies and kidnappings, as well as reports of the growing presence of militants in Gilgit-Baltistan and Kohistan.

It demanded that the state must make a concerted effort to protect the rights of vulnerable groups, including Afghan refugees settled in makeshift camps in Islamabad.

It added that the long-standing demand for compensation for people displaced by the 2010 Attabad disaster and the Kargil war must be met.

It also asked the state to make every effort to bring back the Pakistani fisherfolk incarcerated in Indian jails.

The HRCP expressed its concern over the continuing legal challenges being mounted against the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2018.
The commission said it was especially concerned over the situation of religious minorities, which continued to face discrimination and violence.

It continued that a bill criminalising forced conversions, currently with the Sindh government, should be passed without further delay.

It also demanded prompt implementation of the Sindh Students Union Act.
The commission called for ceasing the continued use of Schedule IV of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 to harass human rights defenders, political dissidents and journalists in G-B.

Additionally, it said the media personnel's safety commission instituted under the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Act 2021 must be made operational.

The HRCP reiterated its utter dissatisfaction with the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, given that perpetrators of these actions were still not held accountable.

It called for transparency into the resources that were supposed to have been allocated to the newly merged tribal districts in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Additionally, it said there needed to be a concerted effort to remove landmines in K-P.


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